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14 January 2011

Financial firms in dark about climate change risks

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A UN-backed study says that major financial firms feel too uninformed about climate change to advise their clients on risks, such as heatwaves and floods

The survey of 60 insurers, banks and asset managers - including Aviva, Banco Santander, Deutsche Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ and Citigroup - found that climate expertise was an emerging factor of competition.

"More than half of the respondents feel that the level of information today is not sufficient," according to the study by the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Finance Initiative.

Last year was among the six most loss-intensive years for insurers since 1980, largely due to an increase in natural disasters, 90% of which were weather-related.

Johanna Weber, the head of media relations at German insurance firm Munich Re, said she could not rule out future European insurance premiums being affected. "We have cycles in the reinsurance markets and they are renewed every year, so of course they have to take into account long-term developments," she said.


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